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Language is powerful. The words we say actually impact how we feel about ourselves and how we appear to others. There are some words that give your power away to others. By shifting the language you use, you take back your power and stay in control of your life. If you’re using any of these four words/phrases, stop using them today!

Busy

Saying “I’m so busy” may make you feel good because there’s some strange association between being busy and being successful. But it gives away your power. Being “so busy” means you don’t have time to do what you want to do. Stop using busy and start using the priority instead. Try “I’m great! I’ve got a lot on my plate and I’m enjoying it” or “I’ve got other priorities.” See the difference.

Hard

“This is just so hard.” That makes it sound like you’re not capable. What it really means is that you weren’t dedicated to that particular goal over the long term. Most things we think of as hard require commitment and dedication. So instead of using hard, swap it with dedication. “This is something I’m going to have to dedicate a lot of time to.” “Do I want to dedicate myself to this?”

Problem

“I’ve got this problem…” Subconsciously, people feel they’re not in control of problems; problems happen to them and may not be fixable. Instead, use the word challenge. “This situation is really challenging. Let’s find a solution.” This presents the situation as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Can’t Afford It

This makes it sound like your money spends itself. I grew up with this phrase and I know how easy it is to look at line items on a budget and say “we can’t afford that.” The truth is that you do have choice and power over your finances, so instead replace it with “that’s not where I’m choosing to spend money right now.” Most things you could afford if you wanted to, but you’re CHOOSING to spend money elsewhere. It’s always a choice, so phrase it that way when you think about and talk about it.

These simple word shifts are tremendously empowering. When you feel in control of your life you feel happiest and most confident about what you’re doing and the choices you’re making.